Who Can Request An Absentee Ballot In This Years Local Elections
Because of the pandemic, anyone can request an absentee ballot this year.
In March 2020, state lawmakers passed a law that said a voters concern over spreading or getting COVID-19 counts as a temporary illness when asking for an absentee ballot.
That means that anyone can still claim temporary illness as a reason to request an absentee ballot, regardless of the availability of vaccines or any other factors that may have changed since last year.
Absentee ballots were previously only available for people who were unable to vote in person because they were out of town, had an illness or disability, were in jail or were in the military.
The expanded eligibility will last at least through the end of 2021.
Allie Swatek, director of policy and research for the NYC Campaign Finance Board, said: All voters may request an absentee ballot, using COVID-19 as an excuse, for the June primary and even the November general election. This means that no voter will need to put their health at risk to make their voice heard in our city elections.
Our guide is here to make your decisions easier, with details on candidates, the jobs theyre running for, how to use the new ranked-choice voting system and more.
A Few More Tools For You
- Need to figure out what City Council district you live in? Look here.
- Need to figure out whos running for City Council in your district? Check out this map.
- Need to know how ranked choice voting works? Heres our breakdown.
- Not sure if youre registered to vote? Go here.
We recently launched Meet Your Mayor, our quiz-driven interactive tool that shows you how the candidates match with your take on the issues that matter most to New Yorkers. The latest installment focuses on housing.
Locate Your Polling Place:
Early Voting Sites – Some polling sites will be open for early voting for the 2021 General Election from October 22nd to November 1. Sites are still being determined check with your county board of elections or at VoteEarlyNY.org
Election Day – Before Election Day, locate your polling place online or by contacting your local board of elections. You may receive a helpful information card in the mail listing your polling place, but if you are registered, you are entitled to vote whether you receive the card or not.
New York City voters can locate their polling place here, by calling 866-VOTE-NYC, or emailing with your complete home address and a request for your poll location. All polling locations throughout New York State are open from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m on November 2nd.
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Permanent Illness Or Physical Disability
These voters are on a permanent list and receive a ballot for each election for which they are eligible. Regular Absentee Ballot Applications are available by calling the Monroe County Board of Elections at 585 753-1550 or you may download the Regular Absentee Ballot Applicationor the Spanish Absentee Ballot Application.
How To Track Your Absentee Ballot In New York City
An absentee ballot envelope for a New York City voter.
NEW YORK – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York officials passed legislation allowing any registered voter to request and submit an absentee ballot citing the risk of infection as a reason for not being able to vote in person.
And if you’re a voter in New York City, you can track the progress of your submitted ballot to make sure that your vote is counted.
Once you fill out your ballot, you can return it either by mail or by hand .
Then you can track that ballot’s progress through the system at nycabsentee.com/tracking. You’ll need to enter either your absentee confirmation code or your voter information.
“Data in the system updates every 24 hours,” the BOE says on the tracking portal. “Applications may take up to 72 hours to enter the tracking system.”
NOTE: You can see important dates about New York’s elections and voting process here. Peruse this information about how to receive and submit your ballot.
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What is Know the Vote app?
A new mobile app called Know the Vote uses location data to filter election dates, candidate policies, and more.
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Follow The Steps Below To Recieve And Cast Your Absentee Ballot In The 2021 General Election:
- To vote by mail, you must first submit an absentee ballot application. You can apply for your absentee ballot online at absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov, or by mail, phone, online or in-person with your county board of elections. Verify the address at which you are registered to vote at voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.
- Applications for an absentee ballot submitted by mail, fax, email, or online must be received by the local Board of Elections no later than The deadline to apply for an absentee ballotin-person is
- To vote absentee due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you must indicate that you are requesting an absentee ballot due to Temporary Illness.
- After your application has been approved, you will receive an absentee ballot in the mail. Carefully follow the directions provided on the absentee ballot.
- To avoid postal delays and any problems counting your vote, apply for and send in your absentee ballot as early as possible.
- If you prefer not to mail your absentee ballot, you may deliver it to any early voting or election day poll site, or to your board of elections office.
Okay But How Do I Actually Cast My Ballot
If youve never voted by absentee ballot before, heres what to expect:
Always use blue or black ink, said Matthew Sollars, spokesperson for the CFB, and be aware there will be two envelopes: One that will mail everything back to the Board of Elections, and one privacy envelope that contains your actual ballot, he said.
Youll need to sign that envelope, he said, to make sure your ballot is counted.
Wilson of the LMV said to watch out for a piece of paper called a witness slip that may appear in your ballot, as well. Some counties in New York send them, but keep in mind: Its not likely youll need to sign it.
You dont need a witness signature in New York State unless you had assistance filling in your ballot, she said. If you cant hand mark yourself, somebody has to sign and say they helped you. But theres no direction saying that. Its just a slip included for a witness signature.
Above all, be extra careful, she said, go slowly and read everything.
The thing Ive been saying to everyone is just follow the directions, she said. Please read the directions and follow them closely!
How will you be casting your ballot this year, and what questions do you have about the voting process amid COVID-19? Well do our best to answer them. Reach out to reporter Rachel Holliday Smith at .
Want to republish this story? See our republication guidelines.
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So How Do I Get My Ballot
The state said it started sending ballot applications to every registered voter the week of May 8.
But Jennifer Wilson, deputy director of the League of Women Voters of New York State, says theres no reason to sit by the mailbox. In New York City, you can apply for a ballot online at the Board of Elections site NYCAbsentee.com, or by fax, email, through snail mail or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC.
You dont have to wait to get that ballot application in the mail. You can start now, she said.
On your application, all those requesting an absentee ballot will need to check a box marked temporary illness as the reason for the request.
Military And Overseas Voters
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Getting And Returning Your Ballot
Read the instructions on your ballot carefully before completing it. You can return your ballot by mail or in person.
Return by mail: Your ballot must be postmarked by Nov 3 and received by Nov 10
Return in person at an early voting poll site between Oct 24 and Nov 1
Return in person at any County Board of Elections Office during regular business hours between now and November 3
Return in person at a poll site on Nov 3 by 9:00 PM
When you open your absentee ballot mailer in New York state, youll find three things:
- The ballot
- A ballot or affirmation envelope
- A return envelope
Read the Instructions Carefully
Want to ensure your vote is counted? Avoid these missteps and follow the instructions below as you cast your absentee vote:
Dont skip the instructions
Read the short instructions found on the front of your ballot envelope, the one that will hold your ballot. The instructions are on the front of the ballot envelope.
Dont use red or other light-colored ink
Fill in the circles with blue or black pens. Don’t go outside the lines.
It is ok if a voter uses a combo of blue and black ink on a single ballot to fill in the circles next to candidates’ names,
Dont use any other colors. The scanner might not pick it up.
Dont make any extra marks on your ballot
These extra marks can be used later to challenge the validity of the ballot.
Dont sign your ballot
Your signature is needed, BUT NOT on the ballot itself.
Where And How To Vote In New York City
How to find your polling place and a quick rundown of whats on the ballot.
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By Karen Zraick
The polls in New York City are open today from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and voters will be choosing candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, City Council and in Manhattan and Brooklyn, district attorney. They will also be voting on five potential amendments to the State Constitution.
Here are answers to questions you may have about voting.
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About Voting By Mail In Ny
- REQUESTING a Ballot
- To Vote by Mail in Election 2021: By October 18, 2021 you must request a ballot online, or request one by mail, e-mail, or fax.
- DEADLINE ALERT: Your Local Board of Elections must RECEIVE your ballot request by this date.
- After this deadline voters may request a ballot in-person at their Local Board of Elections , through close of business on the day prior to Election Day, Monday, November 1, 2021.
- COMPLETING a Ballot
- After requesting a ballot, a voter will receive:
- Absentee/Military Ballot: follow the instructions and mark your votes for each contest with a blue or black pen. Fill in the oval completely. Avoid making stray marks on the ballot.
- Ballot Envelope: Must be sealed , signed, and dated accurately.
- Return Envelope: Postage IS NOT prepaid. See below for dropbox alternatives to mailing.
- RETURNING a Ballot
- Know your Absentee Voting RIGHTS!
How To Submit Your Absentee Ballot
You may mail your absentee ballot to us using the return envelope provided. We recommend that you mail your ballot back as early as possible. You may instead choose to drop off your absentee ballot at our office in Mineola during normal business hours, or at any early voting polling place or election day polling place in Nassau County during the hours the polls are open.
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What Is Voter Registration
New York requires voters to register with a local board of elections prior to Election Day. Paper registration forms can be submitted in person or by mail. New Yorkers with state identification and a social security number can also register to vote, or update registration information such as name, address, or party enrollment, online at the states MyDMV website.
Got Some Time Here Are Some Upcoming Campaign Events
Speaking of events: Our next Civic Newsroom meeting is April 14. We are returning virtually to Mott Haven, Brownsville and Flushing.
Here are details for the second round of sessions:
- Brownsville meeting: Wednesday, April 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. .
- Mott Haven meeting: Wednesday, April 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. .
- Flushing meeting: Wednesday, April 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. .
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How To Vote In 2021
How do I vote?
All New Yorkers have three ways to vote in the 2021 primary elections. Choose the best option to make your voice heard during the pandemic.
- Early Voting: Vote in-person from . Your Early Voting site may be different from your Election Day poll site, so make sure to check before you go at Voting.NYC.
- Vote by Mail: All registered voters also have the option to vote by mail . The deadline is October 18, but we recommend requesting your ballot as soon as you can. You can mark the reason as Temporary illness or disability, which includes the risk of contracting the coronavirus. When you receive your ballot, make sure to sign and date the back of your absentee ballot envelope. Ballots must be postmarked on or before November 2 You can track your absentee ballot here.
- Election Day: As always, all registered voters can vote in-person on November 2. We anticipate high turnout this year, so lines may be long at some poll sites. If youre worried about crowds, you may want to consider voting early. Find your Election Day poll site here.
What’s on the ballot?
For the 2021 general election there are candidates for local elected office on the ballot:
- City Council – 35 of 51 seats
- Borough President – Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island
- District Attorney – Brooklyn and Manhattan
Is it safe to vote in person?
What steps can I take to stay safe while voting?
What is early voting?
Do I have to vote in person?
If Needed: Fix Errors On Your Ballot
The Board of Elections is required by law to notify you if there is a curable error on your ballot envelope, such as a missing or incorrect signature. If there is a fixable error on your ballot, they will contact you by mail, email, and phone within 1 day of discovering the error. You will then have a minimum of 5 days to correct the error by returning a signed affirmation.
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Who Can Register To Vote
U.S. citizens can vote if they are at least 18 years old on Election Day, have been a resident of the city or county for at least 30 days, do not claim the right to vote elsewhere, have not been declared mentally incompetent and are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. In addition, most New Yorkers who are on parole for a felony conviction are now eligible to vote. If you are a student, homeless, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you can still vote.
New Yorkers Vote Against A Potential Expansion Of Ballot Access For The State
Voters fill in their ballots at a polling place in New York City on Tuesday. Seth Wenig/APhide caption
Voters fill in their ballots at a polling place in New York City on Tuesday.
New York voters soundly rejected constitutional amendments that would have allowed for same-day voter registration and universal absentee voting in future elections.
The Associated Press called the ballot measure contests on Wednesday evening.
If approved, the proposals would have removed language in the state constitution that currently prevents no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registration, allowing lawmakers to then expand ballot access.
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., offer same-day, or Election Day, registration. Dozens of states, including many that are more conservative than Democratic-leaning New York, offer no-excuse absentee voting.
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Haven’t Received Your Ballot Use The Federal Write
You must be registered to vote and have already requested a state absentee ballot in order to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot .
If you are a Uniformed Service member , you can use the FWAB to vote in all elections for federal, state and local offices, including ballot measures.
If you are an overseas citizen, you can use the FWAB to vote in all elections for federal office.